Girls Gone Bike starts this week off a while after where it left off the previously. In the episode before it, the girls were about to depart on a cycling expedition to Enoshima. Skipping the journey, the show now picks up with Hiromi and Tomoe browsing school clubs. They don’t have much luck in finding a good extracurricular, as typical sports do not seem to be up their alley, and the swim club didn’t end well either (due to Hiromi’s inability to swim). During their time trying out swim club however, the instructor bothers to mention that there’s a difference between the swim club and swim team. Swim team is obviously more competitive, while swim club is mainly dedicated to those who just enjoy swimming.
It’s seems important that this is pointed out, as it establishes the idea that there are two sides to certain activities. I’m guessing this was eventually meant to be attributed to the cycling club, and I wonder what that may mean for the series’ future. So far the show itself appears to be very casual, focusing on enjoyment rather than skill development. The OP and promos however, suggest that the girls will be forming a team (with matching uniforms and stuff). I like the way the show is right now, but if it were to add a competitive aspect, I can only hope that it manages to strike a pleasant balance between the two sides of cycling. It’ll be interesting to see if the serene enjoyment of travel and adventure can coexist with the unbridled passion and adrenaline of battle.
But back to the swim club, Hiromi gets into shenanigans yet again and eventually winds up in the nurse’s office. Higa comes to Hiromi’s aid when she slips up in the pool, so now she’s there in the office as well. As it turns out, Kamikura also happens to be in the room, and we finally get to learn what happened during the Enoshima trip. Kamikura dropped out because she over exerted herself, despite the trip being a breeze for everyone else. Her butler picked her up and that was the last they saw of her until now. Kamikura seems to be the least athletic, but she doesn’t seem to annoyingly ashamed of that fact either. Meanwhile, Higa seems to be the most athletic and experienced, plus she also mentioned (back in swim club) being from Okinawa, how the ocean there was far more enjoyable than the school’s tiny, confined pool.
From the nurse’s office, Kamikura invites the others to come with her to visit her grandmother, who also happens to be the principle of the school. They head out to a remote house up on the mountainside and meet her, whilst first presuming she was dead because she’s old and fell asleep in her chair. Of course, this show would never take such a dark turn (though it’d be jarring and hilarious if it did), and once she’s awake they engage in tea and conversation. The girls learn that Kamikura’s grandmother was in the original cycling club, an extracurricular that’s long been inactive as made proof of by the empty club room they were currently standing in. The principle gives a reminiscent speech about the club and what eventually killed it, bringing up the evolution of transportation and how something is lost when we only focus on getting from point A to point B. Basically, if you’re only focusing on getting from one place to another as fast as you can, you’re missing out on what’s in between. And this is just yet another example of why I think Girls Gone Bike is more guided toward exploration and enjoyment rather than racing and competition.
Kamikura decides that, after hearing her grandmother’s inspirational words, it’s time to resurrect the cycling club. The other girls love the idea and it’s settled. Then the episode ends. Honestly, I felt this episode to be kind of a slog to get to that simple point. Searching for clubs offered a few gags, but not one’s that hit with me well enough that wouldn’t see it as time wasted. This episode had been the opposite of what the first two had shown. Episode one and two were open, they took place outside and showed off the beauty of Kamakura, while also showing the girls actually riding bikes. In contrast, this episode had no one biking (minus the flashbacks), and was indoors most of the time. The show seemed borderline obsessed with showing off its wonderful scenery earlier, so it was odd to see it take a step back and offer much less this episode.
While I felt it definitely could’ve been handled better (perhaps Kamikura just inviting them to meet her grandmother in the first place and going from there), it did at least get the job done. These four are officially a group now, and while they’re still missing the blonde girl from the OP, they’re on track for whatever it is that’s going to be the bulk of the plot. Whatever happens, all I can do now is hope that I end up liking it.